On The Water

Today was another unplanned day. The sun was out and there was a little breeze so we decided to travel down the road to Everglade City and Chokoloskee Island.

After getting some fuel we were off. The road is pretty narrow (no shoulders) with even narrower short bridges every km or two. On either side of the highway you can see trees with clearings every so often. The clearings look like PFRA pastureland but you know that under that grass is water and if you look carefully through the trees, you can see water as well.

There are lots of birds in Florida. Last year we were amazed at the beauty of the exotic egrets and herons. They are so common here it is like seeing a sparrow or robin in your back yard. The excitement is gone but they still are beautiful and magnificent birds.

We stopped in at Everglades National Park just outside of Everglade City. They offered boat excursions, one through the mangrove forest and the other around the 10 thousand Islands. We decided to take a 3-hour cruise with the skipper and Marianne; no actually it was an hour and a half with Steve and Curtis, through the islands. We weren’t really prepared; both of us had shorts and tee shirts on. Luckily Bev had brought some long pants and a fleece, which she wore; I was destined to get cold.

The cruise was interesting and well narrated by Steve. He pointed out many birds that were common to the area. There were nesting Osprey, Cormorants and the Royal Tern. It turns out the Royal Tern is natures weathervane as they always face into the wind. All these birds could be seen on the channel markers and didn’t seem to care that we were zipping right by them. I guess they had seen it all before.

We were also introduced to the three types of mangrove trees in the area and came across some American White Pelicans. The white pelican is a much larger bird than the native brown pelican. Everyone thought the white pelicans were more beautiful but Bev and I feel the opposite, probably because we see the white ones at home all the time.

We also spotted some dolphins. There were a couple of groups of them. The first group or two we spotted were just swimming around. The last group was definitely feeding on some fish. They were swimming much faster and were circling around. Of course there were opportunistic pelicans following them, looking for an easy meal.

Captain Steve was trying to get them to follow in the boat’s wake. We were on a pontoon boat powered by twin 250 horse outboard motors. When the motors were tipped up a little, there was quite a wake behind the boat that the dolphins like to play in. But not today, I guess food was more important. Seeing these magnificent creatures up close and in the wild was the highlight of the trip.

We were done our cruise just after 5 PM, so we headed back to the camper. Tomorrow we may venture out again. Steve had told us about some interesting board walks we should try out. There is one close to us, so that may be where we will end up tomorrow.

Here are some pictures of our water adventure.

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